The life of a trainee

Arizona Travel Blog

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My training trip ended in Los Angeles, we were back at the office tying up loose ends before we would all head out on our Observation Trips.  This would probably be my most relaxing time at Trek.  I would join another tour (a two week trip) to see how the tour leader runs it, ask questions and experience a trip from a passenger's perspective.  Before we could go we had to get drug tested and pass the class "C" test with a passenger endorsement for our licenses.  The written part shouldn't be difficult for me, we had a bunch of old tests lying around the office and a couple drills through those and I had it down.  The tough part was going to be parallel parking the van.  I practiced again and again, but trying to park between two cones when you can't actually see them seemed impossisble.

We woke up at the crack of dawn to get the 9 of us tested at the DMV.  All the trainees piled into a 15 passenger van and we drove ourselves to the DMV.  We had early appointments, before the rest of the DMV officially opened.  We got there at 6:45 to see a long line had already formed.  Apparently a couple of the testers were sick that day, so we took a random number and settled in for a long wait.  Hours passed by, we ended up sending someone for lunch, we had to stay in case our numbers were called.  More hours passed.  I started and finished the book, The Shining.  Finally closing hours were approaching and they still hadn't called us.  I went up to the counter to talk to them again and they said we had to come back the next day.  Although I didn't know I was right at the time, I told them that some of us were leaving the next day and we had to test now... they agreed to stay after closing to get us all tested.  I first had to take the written test, then I had to identify over 80 parts on the van and describe what I was looking for in terms of safety and maintence, then the driving test.  I lost the most points on the parallel parking, but I, and everyone else, passed on the first go.  I was so tired and upset by the end of the hours of waiting I just scowled when they shot the photo for my ID.  My photo still shows me clearly pissed off.

I called Tavis to deliver the good news and he responded with, "good, because you and Dave are leaving in 3 hours to get to Colorado to start your observation trip.  Trip starts at 6:45 in the morning."  I had three hours to get back to the hostel, pack, and get to LAX.  Unforunatley, one of my best friends, Craig, the guy who got me to do this job in the first place and was another tour leader in his second year, had just arrived at the A-hole.  I hadn't seen him in months and I was so excited to see a familiar face and share stories after weeks in this strange life.  I had to settle for a quick 45 minute talk at the A-Hole bar over weak, slurpee syle margaritas and tatar tots (that was an A-Hole thing, free tatar tots... I still have nightmares about those tatar tots). 

I sorted my stuff, hurried up Dave and headed for the airport.  We were running late for the flight and were sprinting through the airport, but made our flight- a small twin prop commuter plane.  We had a layover in Vegas (apparently the cheapest flight Trek cold find) and then on to Denver.  By the time we arrived at the hotel is was way past 3 in the morning and the desk clerk was nowhere to be found.  We spent a good 45 minutes banging on the lobby doors and circling the grounds.  Finally we were let in and headed to our room.  We had less than 2 hours to catch some sleep before we had to meet the group in the morning.
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